Poetry Happening Near You

The winners are announced...

After much deliberation, a panel of judges have chosen the winners of the Poetry on Loan 2018 poetry competition...

Happy National Poetry Day!

And what better day to announce the winners of the 2018 Poetry on Loan poetry competition. They are:

Adult category - Artefacts, by Annette Iles.

Junior category - Take this, by Iona Mandal.

Congratulations to Annette and Iona, who both faced strong competition, and huge thanks to everyone who entered. Do please try again next year!

The competition was for poems of no more than 20 lines, on the theme Take this...Here are the winning poems:


She offered us her uncle's medals
also, from time to time, such things
as folders of music, a paint-chipped chair
paste jewellery, postcards faint with dust.
We muttered excuses. Old family tat,
my brother called it; who'd want that?

Later, too late, I saw the medals might
have told me of trenches, mustard gas,
explained his shattered leg.  I understood
a chair could creak with memories of my grandmother
sighing onto it peeling potatoes as she eased her feet.

Oddments lost in cupboards, buried in
sheds, held stories once - perhaps
we had an aunt who played sonatas,
cousins who moved abroad? Last glimpses
of them, gone when we came looking for
the people flowing through us, who we were.

I didn't come in time. I wish I'd answered yes.
I wish I'd listened when my mother said "take this".

Annette Iles


Take this

The wrinkled eyed nurse, tear-stained face
Handed you, the baby with open arms
“Take this,” she sighed and smiled
Knowing well, she had seen the beginning, never the end.

Feet matching feet in tiny steps
Yet, your stumbling toddler fell once more
“Take this,” you held out your palm and coaxed
His toothless smile, yours the contrary, reuniting pain.

Grass stains on his once pristine socks
Head bowed on the victory stand, gold medal adorning his neck
“Take this,” the sports coach laughed, deep and throaty
The other contestants casting side ward glances.

They told you, they’d meet you, in the alleyway by the school
Tattoo-clad arms, gold chains, basketball in one arm
Your back to the wall, their knuckles, hard as brick, meeting your face
“Take this,” they jeered, or you’ll be sorry, you ever came.

The telephone rang, something told you, it wasn’t a lie
You rushed. “Take this,” the man in the black suit, said
Your bonny boy, the cherub you had watched grow
Reduced to ash; perfectly fit, in a box of grey.

Iona Mandal